Making an Awesome Experience

Organizing an Awesome Club

What do you need to do in order to have an awesome Cloverbud club? There are several things that you need to consider. First, think about yourself as a Cloverbud volunteer. Are you really interested in children during this stage of development? Perhaps you are the parent of a Cloverbud. One of the prerequisites to having an awesome club is that you enjoy being with excited, energetic, young children. You will also need to work with parents, to encourage their support and help with special activities, as well as the staff at your county Extension office.

It is also important to recognize that 4-H Cloverbud programs are activity centered and leader directed. As the leader, the amount of time, energy, and enthusiasm that you commit to the program is likely to impact it's success. Your organizational skills will also play a big role in the success of your club. To get organized, carefully review and think about the how, what, where of Cloverbud meetings before you begin enrolling members for the year.

How many members should a club have?

Successful clubs have a good balance between numbers of members and leaders. A ratio of 6 Cloverbud members per volunteer seems to work well. Some activities and trips may require 1 adult for every two Cloverbuds.

How are members recognized?

Cloverbuds may receive recognition for participation only. Any form of recognition, prize, award, or ribbon must be given equally to all Cloverbud members.

How do I involve parents?

Parents are an important part of the 4-H program. Most are interested in their child's 4-H activities and experiences and are willing to help when asked. During the program planning process, make a list of tasks that parents could perform. Examples include hosting a meeting in their home, donating craft supplies and/or refreshments, chaperoning a special tour, planning a community service project, making telephone calls, providing transportation, sharing a special skill, etc. Use your list to develop and distribute a parent sign-up sheet to recruit their help. It is also helpful to write a letter to parents soon after the club is organized. In the letter you can communicate what the 4-H group expects of members, the year's meeting dates, and your need for parent support.

What happens during a meeting?

Cloverbud meetings usually last about one hour. The meeting is called to order, the 4-H pledge recited, and roll call is taken during the first 10 minutes. The activity period, when you teach a lesson from the Cloverbud curriculum, typically lasts 30 - 40 minutes. The remaining time is spent enjoying refreshments and recreation.

What special activities will be available?

4-H Cloverbud members may go on special trips and get involved with community service projects. You may want to brainstorm several possibilities for club trips and let club members vote on where they would like to go. A community service project gives Cloverbuds an opportunity to work together for the benefit of the entire community. Again, you may want to think of several potential projects that are safe and appropriate for this age group and then let the members decide what they want to do. Examples include recycling pop cans and newspapers, sponsoring a canned food drive, planting flowers in a public area, etc.

Some counties offer Cloverbud camps and opportunities for Cloverbuds to exhibit at the county fair. Call your Extension office to find out what your county offers.

Where are meetings held?

Ideal meeting places have good lighting, a comfortable temperature, adequate space and facilities, and are centrally located. If the Cloverbud club is part of a larger community club, the meeting place should have separate rooms for each group.

Organize the space to fit the activities that are planned. Arranging tables and chairs in a square or circle allows all members to see and hear each other.

Sources:
4-H Extension Fact Sheets Effective 4-H Club Meetings 4-H-006-99; 4-H Cloverbuds 4-H-010- 99; Community Service 4-H-012-99; and Involving Parents 4-H-013-99.

Joyce Shriner 
Extension Agent, Family & Consumer Sciences, 
Hocking County, Ohio